"And that wailing sound is sure to be an alarm," I went on. "The magicians who
put me here mentioned something about legions of horlas and utukku. I doubt
even Jabor can swallow them all. So perhaps we could continue this discussion a
"Agreed." Faquarl put his face close to the orb, which was now scarcely more
than tangerine size. "You will never escape the Tower without us, Bartimaeus, so
do not try any tricks just yet. I must warn you that I had two orders in coming here.
The first was to learn the location of the Amulet. If that is impossible, the second is
to destroy you. I needn't tell you which will give me greater pleasure."
His face withdrew. At that moment the oval seam appeared in the back wall
and broadened into the portal arch. From the blackness several figures began to
emerge: pale-faced horlas,
holding tridents and silver nets in their stick-thin arms.
Once beyond the portal, the protective Shields around their bodies would become
invulnerable; while passing through, however, the Shields were weak and their es-
sences momentarily exposed. Jabor took full advantage of this, firing off three rapid
Detonations in quick succession. Bright green explosions engulfed the archway.
Twittering piteously, the horlas crumpled to the ground, still half in and half out of
the portal. But behind came another troop, stepping with fastidious care over the
bodies of their fellows. Jabor fired again.
 Horla: a powerful subclass of djinni. To a human, horlas appear as shadowy appa-
ritions that cause madness and disease; to other djinn, they radiate a malicious aura that
saps our essence.
Faquarl, meanwhile, had not been idle. From a pocket in his coat he drew forth
a ring of iron, about the size of a bracelet, soldered to the end of a long metal rod. I
viewed the ring warily.
 Almost as much as silver, iron does not do a djinni any good. People have been
using it to ward off our influence for millennia; even horseshoes are considered "lucky"
because they are made of iron.
"And what do you expect me to do with that?" I asked.
"Leap through it, of course. Imagine you're a trained dog in a circus. Not hard
for you, I'm sure, Bartimaeus; you've tried most jobs in your time." Holding one end
cautiously between finger and thumb, Faquarl positioned the rod so that the iron
ring made contact with the surface of the orb. With a violent fizzing, the lines of
the barrier diverged and arced around the edge of the ring, leaving the gap within it
"Lovelace has specially strengthened the ring to enhance the magical resistance
of the iron," Faquarl went on. "But it won't last forever, so I suggest you jump fast."
He was right. Already, the edges of the ring were bubbling and melting under the
power of the orb. As a beetle, I didn't have room to maneuver, so I summoned up
my remaining energy and became a fly once more. Without further ado, I did a
quick circuit of the orb to build up speed and, in a flash, shot through the molten
ring to freedom.
"Marvelous," Faquarl said. "If only we'd had a drumroll accompaniment."
The fly landed on the floor and became a very irritable falcon.
"It was dramatic enough for me, I assure you," I said. "And now?"
Faquarl tossed the remains of the ring to the floor. "Yes, we'd better go." A sil-
ver-headed trident shot through the air and clattered between us across the flag-
stones. Up by the portal, now half choked with horla corpses, Jabor was steadily re-
treating. A new wave of guards, uttuku mainly, advanced behind a strong collective
Shield, which repelled Jabor's steadily weakening Detonations and spun them away
around the room. At last a horla won free of the portal and, with his armor fully
formed, came creeping round the edge of the Shield. Jabor fired at him; the blast
hit the horla in his spindly chest and was completely absorbed. The horla gave a
wintry smile and darted forward, spinning his net like a bola.
Faquarl became a raven and took off effortfully, one wing laboring through the
air. My falcon followed him, up toward the hole. A net passed just under me; a tri-
dent buried its prongs in the wall.
"Jabor!" Faquarl shouted. "We're leaving!"
I snatched a look below: Jabor was grappling with the horla, his strength seem-
ingly undiminished. But countless more kept coming. I concentrated my efforts on
reaching the hole. Faquarl had already vanished within it; I ducked down my beak
and plunged in too. Behind me, a colossal explosion rocked the room and I heard
the savage fury of the jackal's cry.
In the narrow, pitch-black tunnel, Faquarl's voice sounded muffled and strange.
"We're nearly out. Being a raven would be most appropriate from now on."
"There are dozens of the things out there. We can mingle with the flock and
gain time while we make for the walls."
Loath as I was to follow Faquarl's advice about anything, I had no idea what we
were up against outside. Escape from the Tower was the priority. Escape from him
could come later. So I concentrated and shifted form.
"Have you changed?"
"Yep. It's not a guise I've tried before, but it doesn't seem too difficult."
"Any sign of Jabor behind us?"
"He'll be along. Right, the opening to the outside is just ahead of me. There's a
Concealment on the exit hole, so they shouldn't have spotted it yet. Fly out fast
and go straight down. You'll see a kitchen yard where the ravens congregate to
gather scraps; I'll meet you there. Above all, don't be conspicuous."
A scrabbling in the tunnel ahead, then a sudden burst of light. Faquarl was
gone, revealing the outline of the exit, covered with a mesh of concealing threads. I
C# Word - Word Conversion in C#.NET
Word documents in .NET class applications independently, without using other external third-party dependencies like Adobe Acrobat. Word to PDF Conversion. delete pdf page acrobat; delete pages from a pdf online
hopped forward until my beak hit the barrier, pressed against it and pushed my
head through into the cold November air.
Without pause, I pushed off from the hole and began to glide toward the
As I descended, a brief glance around confirmed how far I was from safety: the
distant rooftops of London were barely visible behind a series of rounded towers
and curtain walls. Guards walked upon them, and search spheres moved randomly
through the sky. The alarm had already been raised. From some eyrie high above, a
siren was wailing, and not far off, within this innermost courtyard, battalions of po-
lice were running toward an unseen point.
I landed in a little side yard, cut off from the general panic by two outbuildings
that projected from the body of the main tower. The cobbles of the yard were cov-
ered in greasy scraps of bread and bacon rind, and by a hungry, cawing flock of ra-
One of the ravens sidled over. "You idiot, Bartimaeus."
"Your beak's bright blue. Change it."
Well, it was my first time as a raven. And I'd had to alter in the dark. What did
he expect? But it wasn't the time or place to argue. I changed the beak.
"They'll see through the disguise anyway," I snapped. "There must be a thou-
sand sentries of one sort or another out there."
"True, but all we need's a little time. They don't know we're ravens yet, and if
we're in a flock, it'll take them a few extra seconds to pick us out and check. All
we need now is for the flock to fly...."
One moment a hundred ravens were snapping innocently at cold bacon rind, at
peace with themselves and the world. The next, Faquarl revealed his true self to
them on the first plane: he only did so for a fraction of a second, but the glimpse
was enough. Four ravens dropped dead on the instant, several others lost their
breakfast, and the rest took off from the courtyard in a panic-stricken mob, cawing
and clawing at the air. Faquarl and I were in the heart of the flock, flapping as hard
as we could, wheeling and diving when the others did so, desperately trying not to
be left behind.
Up high and over the flat roof of the great keep, where a huge flag fluttered
and human sentries stood gazing out across the waters of the Thames; then down
low and sweeping across the gray courtyard on the other side. Around twenty per-
manent workaday pentacles had been painted in the center of the parade ground,
and as I flashed past, I caught a glimpse of a formidable company of spirits appear-
ing within them, summoned at that moment by a troop of gray-uniformed magi-
cians. The spirits were minor ones, glorified imps for the most part,
but en masse
they would present problems. I hoped the flock of ravens would not land here.
 The less powerful the being, the quicker and easier it is to summon. Most magi-
cal empires employ some magicians specially to rustle up whole cohorts of imps at short
notice. Only the greatest empires have the strength in depth to create armies of higher en-
tities. The most formidable such army ever seen was put together by Pharaoh Tuthmosis
III in 1478 B.C. It included a legion of afrits and a motley group of higher djinn, of which
surely the most notable was... No, modesty prevents my continuing.
But the birds displayed no desire to halt; fear still carried them onward in a
whirling course across the fortifications of the Tower. Several times they seemed to
be heading for an outer wall; on each occasion they banked and turned back. Once
I was tempted to make a break for it alone, but was discouraged by the appearance
on the battlements of an odd blue-black sentry with four spider-like legs. I didn't
like its look, and was too weary after my captivity and forced changes of form to
risk its unknown power.
At last, we came to yet another courtyard, surrounded on three sides by castle
buildings and on the other by a steep bank of green grass rising up to a high wall.
The ravens alighted on the bank and began to mill about, pecking at the ground
Faquarl hopped over to me, one wing hanging away from his breast. It was still
"These birds are never going to leave the grounds," I said. "They get fed here."
The raven nodded. "They've got us as far as they can, but it'll do. This is an
outer wall. Over that and we're away."
"Then let's go."
"In a minute. I need to rest. And perhaps Jabor—"
"You know him better than that, Bartimaeus." Faquarl pecked at his wounded
wing, pulling a feather away from the clotting blood. "Just give me a moment. That
utukku! I wouldn't have guessed he had it in him."
"Imps coming," I hissed. A battalion had scurried through an arch into the far
corner of the yard and were fanning out to begin a meticulous survey of every brick
and stone. We were still concealed within the flock of ravens, but not for long.
Faquarl spat another feather onto the grass, where it briefly changed into a
writhing strip of jelly before melting away. "Very well. Up, over, and out. Don't
stop for anything."
I gestured politely with a wing. "After you."
"No, no, Bartimaeus—after you!" The raven flexed one large, clawed foot. "I
shall be right behind you all the time, so please be original and don't try to escape."
"You have a horrid, suspicious mind." The imps were creeping nearer, sniffing
the ground like dogs. I took off and shot up toward the battlements at speed. As I
drew level with them, I perceived a sentry patroling the walkway. It was a small fo-
liot, with a battered bronze horn strapped to the side of his head. Unfortunately, he
C# Excel - Excel Conversion & Rendering in C#.NET
Excel documents in .NET class applications independently, without using other external third-party dependencies like Adobe Acrobat. Excel to PDF Conversion. delete a page from a pdf online; delete pages from a pdf document
perceived me too. Before I could react, he had swiveled his lips to the mouthpiece
of the horn and blown a short, sharp blast, which instantly triggered a wave of an-
swering signals from along the wall, high and low, loud and soft, away into the dis-
tance. That did it: our cover was well and truly blown. I weaved at the sentry, tal-
ons grasping; he gave a squeak, lost his balance and tumbled backward over the
edge of the wall. I shot across the battlements, over a steep bank of tumbled black
rocks and earth, and away from the Tower into the city.
No time to lose, no time to look back. I flapped onward, fast as I could. Be-
neath me passed a broad gray thoroughfare, heavy with traffic, then a block of flat-
roofed garages, a narrow street, a slab of shingle, a curve of the Thames, a wharf and
steelyard, another street.... Hey! This wasn't too bad—with my customary panache,
I was getting away! The Tower of London must already be a mile back. Pretty soon,
I looked up and blinked in shock. What was this? The Tower of London
loomed ahead of me. Groups of flying figures were massing over the central keep. I
was flying back toward it! Something had gone seriously wrong with my directions.
In great perplexity I did a U-turn round a chimney and shot off again in the oppo-
site direction. Faquarl's voice sounded behind me.
"Didn't you see them?" I yelled back over my wing. "They'll be on us in mo-
ments!" I redoubled my speed, ignoring Faquarl's urgent calls. Rooftops flashed be-
low me, then the mucky expanse of the Thames, which I crossed in record time,
The Tower of London, just as before. The flying figures were now shooting out
in all directions, each group following a search sphere. One lot was heading my
way. Every instinct told me to turn tail and flee, but I was too confused. I alighted
upon a rooftop. A few moments later, Faquarl appeared beside me, panting and
swearing fit to burst.
"You fool! Now we're back where we started!"
A penny dropped. "You mean—"
"The first Tower you saw was a mirror illusion. We should have gone straight
Lovelace warned me of it—and you wouldn't wait to listen! Curse my
injured wing and curse you, Bartimaeus!"
 Mirror illusion: a particularly cunning and sophisticated spell. It forms false im-
ages of a large-scale object—e.g. an army, a mountain, or a castle. They are flat and dis-
solve away as you pass through them. Mirror illusions can baffle even the cleverest oppo-
nent. As demonstrated here.
The battalion of flying djinn was crossing the outer walls. Barely a street's dis-
tance separated us. Faquarl hunched dismally behind a chimney. "We'll never out-
Inspiration came. "Then we won't fly. We passed some traffic lights back
"So what?" Faquarl's normal urbanity was wearing a little thin.
"So we hitch a ride." Keeping the building between me and the searchers, I
swooped off the roof and down to an intersection, where a line of cars was halted
up at a red light. I landed on the pavement, near the back of the queue, with
Faquarl close on my heels.
"Right," I said. "Time to change."
"Something with strong claws. Hurry up, the lights are turning green." Before
Faquarl could object, I hopped off the pavement and under the nearest car, trying
to ignore the repellent stench of oil and petrol fumes and the sickening vibrations
that intensified as the unseen driver revved the engine. With no regret, I bade fare-
well to the raven and took on the form of a stygian implet, which is little more
than a series of barbs on a tangle of muscle. Barbs and prongs shot out and embed-
ded themselves in the filthy metal of the undercarriage, securing me fast as the car
began to inch forward and away. I had hoped Faquarl would be too slow to follow,
but no such luck: another implet was right beside me, grimly hanging on between
the wheels and keeping his eyes fixed on me the whole time.
We didn't talk much during the journey. The engine was too loud. Besides, sty-
gian implets go in for teeth, not tongues.
An endless time later, the car drew to a halt. Its driver got out and moved
away. Silence. With a groan, I loosened my various intricate holds and dropped
heavily to the tarmac, groggy with motion sickness and the smell of technology.
Faquarl was no better off. Without speaking, we became a pair of elderly, slightly
manky cats, which hobbled out from under the car and away across a stretch of
lawn toward a thick clump of bushes. Once there, we finally relaxed into our pre-
 Many modern products—synthetic plastics, metal alloys, the inner workings of
machines—carry so much of the human about them that they afflict our essence if we get
too close for too long. It's probably some sort of allergy.
The cook sank down upon a tree stump. "I'll pay you back for that, Barti-
maeus," he gasped. "I've never had such torture."
The Egyptian boy grinned. "It got us away, didn't it? We're safe."
"One of my prongs punctured the petrol tank. I'm covered with the stuff. I'll
come up in a rash—"
"Quit complaining." I squinted through the foliage: a residential street, big
semis, lots of trees. There was no one in sight, except for a small girl playing with a
tennis ball in a nearby drive. "We're in some suburb," I said. "Outskirts of London,
or beyond." Faquarl only grunted. I cast a sly side glance. He was re-examining the
wound Baztuk had given him. Looked bad. He'd be weakened.
"Even with this gash I'm more than a match for you, Bartimaeus, so come and
sit down." The cook gestured impatiently. "I've something important to tell you."
With my usual obedience, I sat on the ground, cross-legged, the way Ptolemy
used to do. I didn't get too close. Faquarl reeked of petrol.
"First," he said, "I've completed my side of the bargain: against my better
judgement, I saved your skin. Now for your side. Where is the Amulet of Samar-
I hesitated. Only the existence of that tin at the bottom of the Thames pre-
vented me from giving him Nat's name and number. True, I owed Faquarl for my
escape, but self-interest had to come first.
"Look," I said. "Don't think I'm not grateful to you springing for me just now.
But it isn't easy for me to comply. My master—"
"Is considerably less powerful than mine." Faquarl leaned forward urgently. "I
want you to apply your silly, footling brain and think for a moment, Bartimaeus.
Lovelace badly wants the Amulet back, badly enough to command Jabor and me to
break into his government's securest prison to save the miserable life of a slave like
"That is pretty badly," I admitted.
"Imagine how dangerous that was—for us and for him. He was risking all. That
alone should tell you something."
"So what does he need the Amulet for?" I said, cutting to the chase.
"Ah, that I can't tell you." The cook tapped the side of his nose and smiled
knowingly. "But what I can say is that you would find it very much in your inter-
ests, Bartimaeus, to join up with us on this one. We have a master who is going
places, if you know what I mean."
I sneered. "All magicians say that."
"Going places very soon. We're talking days here. And the Amulet is vital to his
"Maybe, but will we share his success? I've heard all this type of guff before.
The magicians use us to gain more power for themselves and then simply redouble
our bondage! What do we get out of it?"
"I have plans, Bartimaeus—"
"Yes, yes, don't we all? Besides, none of this changes the fact that I'm bound to
my original charge. There are severe penalties—"
"Penalties can be endured!" Faquarl slapped the side of his head in frustration.
"My essence is still recovering from the punishments Lovelace inflicted when you
vanished with his Amulet! In fact, our existence—and don't pretend to apologize,
Bartimaeus; you don't care in the least—our existence here is nothing but a series of
penalties! Only the cursed magicians themselves change, and as soon as one drops
into his grave, another springs up, dusts off our names and summons us again! They
pass on, we endure."
I shrugged. "I think we've had this conversation before. Great Zimbabwe, was-
Faquarl's rage subsided. He nodded. "Maybe so. But I sense change coming and
if you had any sense you'd feel it too. The waning of an empire always brings un-
stable times: trouble rising from the streets, magicians squabbling heedlessly, their
brains softened by luxury and power.... We've both seen this often enough, you and
I. Such occasions give us greater opportunities to act. Our masters get lazy, Barti-
maeus—they give us more leverage."
"Lovelace is one of those. Yes, he's strong, all right, but he's reckless. Ever since
he first summoned me, he has been frustrated by the limitations of his ministerial
role. He aches to emulate the great magicians of the past, to daunt the world with
his achievements. As a result, he worries away at the strings of power like a dog
with a moldy bone. He spends all his time in intrigue and plotting, in ceaseless at-
tempts to gain advantage over his rivals... he never rests. And he's not alone, either.
There are others like him in the Government, some even more reckless than he.
You know the type: when magicians play for the highest stakes, they rarely last
long. Sooner or later they'll make mistakes and give us our chance. Sooner or later,
we'll have our day."
The cook gazed up at the sky. "Well, time's getting on," he said. "Here's my fi-
nal offer. Guide me to the Amulet and I promise that, whatever penalty you suffer,
Lovelace will subsequently take you on. Your master, whoever it is, won't be able
to stand in his way. So then we'll be partners, Bartimaeus, not enemies. That'll
make a nice change, won't it?"
"Lovely," I said.
"Or..." Faquarl placed his hands in readiness on his knees. "You can die here
and now in this patch of undistinguished suburban scrub. You know you've never
beaten me before; chance has always saved your bacon.
It won't this time."
 Chance or, as I prefer to think of it, my own quick-wittedness. But it was true
that somehow I'd always managed to avoid a full-on fight.
As I was considering this rather weighty statement and debating how best to
run, we were interrupted. With a small leafy crashing, something came down
through the branches and bounced gently at our feet. A tennis ball. Faquarl leaped
off the stump and I sprang to my feet—but it was too late to hide. Someone was al-
ready pushing her way into the center of the copse.
It was the little girl I had seen playing in her drive: about six years old, freckle-
faced, tousle-haired, a baggy T-shirt stretching down to her grubby knees. She
stared at us, half fascinated, half alarmed.
For a couple of seconds, not one of us moved. The girl looked at us. Faquarl
and I stared at the girl. Then she spoke.
"You smell of petrol," said the girl.
We did not answer her. Faquarl moved his hand, beginning a gesture. I sensed
his regretful intention.
Why did I act then? Pure self-interest. Because with Faquarl momentarily dis-
tracted, it was the perfect opportunity to escape. And if I happened to save the girl
too... well, it was only fair. It was she who gave me the idea.
I lit a small Spark on the end of one finger and tossed it at the cook.
A soft noise, like a gas fire being ignited, and Faquarl was an orange-yellow ball
of flame. As he blundered about, roaring with discomfort, setting fire to the leaves
about him, the little girl squealed and ran. It was good thinking: I did the same.
 Only without the squeal. Obviously.
And in a few moments I was in the air and far away, hurtling at top speed to-
ward Highgate and my stupid, misbegotten master.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested